It’s five years post-Sandy.
Expectations and high hopes for forward movement on protecting our children from the effects of climate change have been dashed this past year. It has been a disaster for those of us who received the on-the-ground message in 2012, when Sandy’s raging waters surged over home territory.
I lived in Manhattan at the time. There was the wreckage of downed trees in my neighborhood, but nothing like what my friends below 14th Street experienced. They had no electricity and saw submerged cars from their windows. None of us could believe the photos of the water swirling through the subway stations. (The MTA plans to close down the heavily used L train, for over one year in 2019, to fix storm damage.)
It’s tough to remain upbeat when Trump and his cabinet of fossil fuel cronies refuse to acknowledge the science associated with a warming planet. Here’s a running list of how the Trump administration is changing the environment and harming our families.
I would doubt that Scott Pruitt has read the new study that looks at how flood hazards in New York City are directly related to “storm surges and rising sea levels.” It’s received plenty of traction in the media: Headlines have blared that after 2030, New York City will be the recipient of major flooding every 5 years as a result of climate change.
Considering the fact that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria occurred in rapid succession this year, one can only observe in disbelief how the Trump administration refuses to accept the prevailing science. Pruitt maintains that it is an “unsettled” issue that must be relitigated. The EPA has taken the term climate change off its website (eliminating data and resources), and on October 23, it canceled the participation of 3 EPA scientists in a conference taking place in Rhode Island.
Hello! Anybody home?
Well, the lights apparently are still on at the Government Accountability Office, referenced as the “congressional watchdog.” They sent a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources which concluded:
“Climate change impacts are already costing the federal government money, and these costs will likely increase over time as the climate continues to change.”
Before arriving at this conclusion, the authors noted that since 2007, the government has shelled out $350 billion on extreme weather and fire events. $34 to $100 billion is the projected price tag by the time 2099 rolls around.
Where does this leave average people who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy? This, I am happy to report, is good news.
It leaves us activated!
Resist and Rise
On October 28, there will be a #SANDY5 march. It will commence in Brooklyn and feature Sandy survivors and first responders, members of frontline communities, and those who insist that New York’s elected officials take a proactive stand on mandating real traction to climate action. There will also be events in the other boroughs, Long Island and New Jersey.
The public is starting to connect the dots between concerns that have previously been looked at individually. Climate denial, corporate dollars, environmental justice, food security — the total picture is coming into focus.
On this fifth anniversary of the superstorm that opened the “floodgates” in more ways than one, the tide toward demanding change is gaining traction.